With a hat tip to Erica Barnett at Slog, some fascinating new poll results about Americans and their cars:

  • Almost four in 10 of those polled said their car has a personality of its own. Two in 10 have a nickname for their car. Most often it is a female nickname…
  • Women were more likely than men to attribute personal traits to their cars, more likely than men to give their car a nickname and more likely to see their cars as female.
  • Three in 10 think of their car as having a gender, with 23 percent thinking of their cars as female, compared with just 7 percent male.
  • Four in five of those polled said they love to drive. Young adults and older people were more likely than those 30-39 to say they enjoy driving. People who make less than $25,000 were more likely than those who make more than $75,000 to say they enjoy driving.
  • Also, 62 percent say they can tell something about someone’s personality just by the car he or she drives…

I wonder, about this tendency of Americans to anthropomorphize their vehicles. Is it a sign of something worrisome about our love of guzzling gas? Is it a hidden obstacle to a more sustainable way of life? Or is it just a benign affection for a common appliance?

Lest readers think I’m looking down my nose at car lovers, I should probably confess something. Despite the fact that I work at Sightline Institute, headed up by a guy famousforhiscarless-ness… Well, I kinda sorta do have a name for my car.

It’s Silver Star. I named it that because it was born– oops, I mean “I bought it” shortly after I discovered Silver Star Mountain in the North Cascades.

It does have a personality—it’s a happy, well-mannered car. It’s also reliable, efficient, good in a pinch, tougher on remote dirt roads than you might expect a happy, well-mannered 2003 Honda Civic EX four-door to be.

Yikes. Now that I think about it, this is sort of embarrassing.

At least my car doesn’t have a gender. That’s ridiculous. It’s a car for gosh sakes.